2013 Mural Contest Winner: Ascending From Despair to Hope

Photograph of a drawing showing a young person climbing over obstacles.

This winter, runaway and homeless youth programs funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau were given the chance to win the materials to paint a mural in their facilities. Here are the essay and artwork submitted by the first place winner, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ creative mural design sessions involved about 10 clients from our Transitional Day Program. The Transitional Day Program provides shelter, food and comprehensive services to Boston’s homeless youth. Our program is developed to address the needs of adolescents struggling with homelessness, substance abuse, histories of trauma, psychiatric conditions and lesbian, bisexual, gay and transitioning youth facing the challenges of coming out. The design team consisted of all volunteers, and they worked collaboratively with minimal supervision. Since all of them are at Bridge for different reasons and are accessing different services, this was the first time that they worked together as a team.

They were very engaged in coming up with a design that they felt represented how they feel about their personal journeys and what Bridge means to them. The design team met on several occasions to brainstorm ideas of how they wanted to best represent their experiences living as homeless young adults. Our youth come from various backgrounds and have all dealt with major struggles such as abandonment, rejection, violence, substance abuse, depression and, of course, homelessness. It was a unanimous decision to visually depict the name of our organization, “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” some way in the mural.  Eventually, the team elected one person to be the artist and to represent the ideas that the group had come up with.

The mural represents each of the clients’ steep climb to overcome their struggles as homeless young adults. They are moving from the darkness of despair into the light of hope and future success. Our young people know that homelessness is not their only issue; they are aware that constant hard work is imperative for their success. The clients expressed that their experience with homelessness has built resilience into their characters—they have surmounted a major obstacle, like the one in the mural—and this will help them overcome other challenges that will come later in life.

The team learned a lot from the process of collaborating on a design and safely sharing ideas and agreeing on a final design. They are looking forward to creating the mural as a visual depiction of their hard work to overcome the obstacles thrown at them at an early age.

More Mural Entries

We’re honored to share the creative and moving designs of this year’s participants in the 2013 Mural Contest slideshow.

9-5 pm Eastern